Endothelial cell (EC) activation is an early hallmark in the pathogenesis of chronic vascular diseases. MicroRNA-181b (Mir181b) is an important anti-inflammatory mediator in the vascular endothelium affecting endotoxemia, atherosclerosis, and insulin resistance. Herein, we identify that the drug methotrexate (MTX) and its downstream metabolite adenosine exert anti- inflammatory effects in the vascular endothelium by targeting and activating Mir181b expression. Both systemic and endothelial-specific Mir181a2b2-deficient mice develop vascular inflammation, white adipose tissue (WAT) inflammation, and insulin resistance in a diet-induced obesity model. Moreover, MTX attenuated diet-induced WAT inflammation, insulin resistance, and EC activation in a Mir181a2b2-dependent manner. Mechanistically, MTX attenuated cytokine-induced EC activation through a unique adenosine-adenosine receptor A3-SMAD3/4-Mir181b signaling cascade. These findings establish an essential role of endothelial Mir181b in controlling vascular inflammation and that restoring Mir181b in ECs by high-dose MTX or adenosine signaling may provide a potential therapeutic opportunity for anti-inflammatory therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)